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October 7, 2019

Miracles of Saints Sergius and Bacchus Recorded by Gregory of Tours

By St. Gregory of Tours

Glory of the Martyrs 96

The martyr Sergius also worked many miracles for people by healing illnesses and curing the weaknesses of those who faithfully prayed to him. As a result it happened that thereafter people either made vows or brought gifts to his large church. It is not permitted that any at all of these gifts be removed or taken away. If anyone does so, he soon pays the penalty of disgrace or death. Because of this protection many people dedicated their possessions to the saint, so that they might be protected by his power and not be seized by evil men. Once there was an old woman who was impoverished and, I think, similar to that poor woman in the Gospel who, although she had nothing else, piously threw two mites into the offertory box. This woman had a few chickens among her fowl that she entrusted to the authority of the church because of a vow to bring them to the saint's house when circumstances demanded. When many people gathered for the festival of the saint, two men who had once seen these chickens made an agreement and secretly stole one. They cut off its head, plucked its feathers, cut off its feet, and put it in a pot with water that they hung over a fire and rapidly heated. The water boiled furiously, but the stolen meat was not cooked. Even though the water boiled away, this chicken did not become tender at all. They repeatedly tested it with their hands and tried to break a claw, but they discovered that what they had put in the water was even tougher. Meanwhile the guests they had invited to dinner were arriving. These guests were about to receive nothing from the preparations. The table was ready, covered with white napkins and decorated with an embroidered cloth. But the food had been transformed into an unexpected toughness. Although the pot was often filled with water, nothing they put in it was found to be cooked. So, because of this unexpected miracle, the dinner was turned into stone, the hosts were dismayed, the guests were embarrassed, and everyone left the meal in shame.

History of the Franks 7.31

At this time Gundovald was in the city of Bordeaux, where he had the support of Bishop Bertram. He was looking out for anyone who could further his cause. Somebody told him that a certain king in eastern parts had obtained possession of the thumb of Saint Sergius the martyr, and that he had attached this to his own right arm. Whenever he needed help to drive back his enemies, he would put his trust in this support; for when he raised his right arm the enemy troops would immediately turn in flight, as if they had been vanquished by the martyr's miraculous power. As soon as Gundovald heard of this, he began to inquire very urgently whether there was anybody in the neighbourhood who had managed to acquire any relics of this martyr Saint Sergius. The name of a merchant called Eufronius was put forward by Bishop Bertram. Bertram hated Eufronius, because he had once had him tonsured against his will, hoping to gain control of his possessions, but Eufronius had treated the whole matter with ridicule, going off to live in another town until his hair grew, and then returning. "There is a certain Syrian living in this city," said Bertram. "His name is Eufronius and he has turned his house into a shrine. In this house he has placed relics of the Saint whom you have just mentioned: through their influence, and with the help of the supernatural power of the martyr, he has witnessed many miracles. There was a time, for instance, when the city of Bordeaux was being burnt in a great fire, but Eufronius' house was not touched, although it was enveloped in flames." When Bertram said this, Mummolus immediately set off at full speed for the Syrian's house, taking the Bishop with him. They stood on either side of the man, and Mummolus demanded that the holy relics be shown to him. Eufronius refused to do so. Thinking that some trap was perhaps being laid for him, in view of the malic which the Bishop bore him, he said: "I am an old man. Do stop harassing me and insulting the Saint. Here are a hundred gold pieces. Take them and go." Mummolus repeated that he wanted to see the holy relics. Eufronius then offered him two hundred gold pieces, but he could not persuade him to leave until the relics had been shown him. They were hidden in a casket high up in the wall near the altar. Mummolus ordered a ladder to be set up against the wall, and then he told one of Bishop Bertram's deacons to climb up. The man clambered up the steps of the ladder and took hold of the casket, but he trembled so violently that it seemed impossible that he could reach the ground again alive. Anyway, as I have said, he took the casket in his hand, from where it was hanging against the wall, and brought it down. Mummolus examined it and found in it one of the bones of the Saint's finger. He had the nerve to give it a knock with his knife. He hit it with his knife, first on one side and then on the other. After giving it a number of such blows, he managed with great difficulty to break it. The little bone broke into three pieces and the fragments dropped out of sight in different directions. What had happened can hardly have pleased the martyr, or so I imagine. Eufronius wept bitterly and all three knelt in prayer, beseeching God of His grace to deign to reveal to them the fragments which had disappeared from human sight. When they had finished their prayers, they discovered the pieces of bone. Mummolus took one of them and went off with it, but not with the approval of the martyr, as the remainder of the story has made clear.